SAN DIEGO -- The up and down season for Yasiel Puig to a brief respite on Friday night, with the Dodgers outfielder sitting out what manager Don Mattingly called a "frustration day" in the series opener against the Padres.
It is the second game off for Puig in the last five contests, and counting off days on Monday and Thursday this will make four off days in the last week.
"I wouldn't call it rest today, it's more a frustration day. He got a day last week because he looked tired," Mattingly said. "He played two games in Arizona and still seemed frustrated."
Puig is in an 0-for-18 slump, though he does have six walks during that span. He has no home runs in August and though he has just two home runs since the start of June, his last four months have really been up and down, though driven largely by his batting average on balls in play.
|Yasiel Puig, last 4 months|
"We forget that this is his first full season of playing. He's so high-profile at this point, he doesn't get a chance to step back," Mattingly said. "We're going to be better if he's rolling. Obviously we'd like to get him back to more of the form he had in the first half. It's going to make us better and more dynamic."
Puig through Thursday had played 122 games and amassed 528 plate appearances this season. At this point in 2013, Puig had played 116 games and had 490 PA, though just 76 games and 323 PA in the majors.
Mattingly said that Puig wasn't dealing with anything physically other than his usual wear and tear. He gave him Friday off as an attempt to hit the reset button of sorts.
That Puig is 1-for-11 with four strikeouts (and two walks) against Padres starter Andrew Cashner made the decision that much easier for Mattingly.
"The season is long and it wears you down. It's part of learning to regulate yourself. We see it with Dee Gordon how much more consistent his approach is mentally, staying at a level. Yasiel is really emotional, and it's hard to be emotional playing 162," Mattingly said. "It's part of the process. He's learning what he has to do to stay sharp."
Scott Van Slyke feels better after suffering a mild right ankle sprain on Wednesday in Arizona. Mattingly said Van Slyke is available to pinch hit and the club thinks he'll be able to play the outfield by Sunday, when he'll likely start against left-handed pitcher Eric Stults.
Juan Uribe is eligible to be activated off the disabled list on Sunday, but the Dodgers will likely wait one more day to activate him if only to avoid having to make a corresponding roster move. Active roster limits expand from 25 to 40 on Monday, Sep. 1.
"I think he's going to be ready [on Sunday]," Mattingly said. "It's just a matter of being cautious and giving him an extra day. "